Jemma Newlyn

International Travel

The world's 26 best toy stores

The world's 26 best toy stores

There’s nothing quite like exploring a new city and stumbling upon a gem of a toy store. But finding the good ones is a challenge in itself. 

Think LEGO city models and rare collectables, doll doctors and carousels.

Here are the world's 26 best toy stores.

 

HAMLEYS, LONDON

If you’ve ever been to Hamleys, you know why it tops the list. This magical multi-level toy emporium is something straight out of a fantasy novel. Flying planes, robots, giant bubbles and kid-sized remote controlled cars are buzzing across the store. Try colour changing nail polish and metallic make-your own stickers. Score a bedroom-sized sweet dispenser and some snow that never melts. Interactive toy exhibitions run throughout the day - and there’s even a waffle stand.

M&M STORE, LAS VEGAS

If you are going to visit an MNM store - shouldn’t be questionable - you may as well visit the best one. This chocolate button extravaganza has just about everything MNM related that you could imagine. Design your own MNMs or shop for you favourite characters and MNM clothes.

POKÉMON CENTRE, MINATO MIRAI, JAPAN

It’s hard not to be a diehard fan when you enter this Pokemon world. Exclusive merchandise is sold here. You will also get the chance to test your video game skills by battling in out against other customers.

HOBBY CO, SYDNEY

Australia’s biggest hobby shop is known as a kids dream and a grown ups heaven. This age inclusive toy store stocks everything from plastic model kits and radio controlled models, to collectable figurines and giant jigsaws. This multiple level gem is really worth the space.

LEGO STORE PEOPLE’S SQUARE, SHANGHAI, CHINA

Shanghai’s Lego Store is pretty much the future of toy stores. With learning as a tangible aim, the concept store offers four different spaces for visitors to build their vision of a future city. It’s also home to the “Mosaic Maker”: an opportunity to purchase your very own personalised LEGO mosaic portrait. The store features giant 3D models, including Pearl Tower of Shanghai and a skyline mosaic of the city. They took approximately four million bricks and 19,000 hours to create.

BUILD A BEAR,NEW YORK

Of course Build A Bear is still one of the most popular toy store concepts to date. And there’s a good reason the NY store is one of the most popular attractions for families in the city. Get hands-on by stuffing your own personalised bear. Put a name on its birth certificate and fit it with a voice and beating heart beat. You can then personalise your bear with many outfits and accessories.

LARK TOYS, MINNESOTA

This enchanting store is not just about teddy bears a dolls. Lark Toys is home to a hand crafted carousel, a bookstre and an 18 hole mini gold course. They have pretty much everything: marbles, tea sets, tops, trolls, rubber ducks, tin lunch boxes, wind-ups, puppets, Jacks-in-the-box, blocks, kites, cars, games, puzzles. The choices are endless. Waltz down Memory Lane’s antique collection hall and enjoy thousands of toys from the past. Make sure to stop at the cafe for a fudge or jelly treat, before saying hello to the pet llamas Francis, Irving and George.

NEW CHINA CHILDREN’S STORE

This six-floor toy store is dedicated to everything kids. There’s books, fashion, stationary, baby items and most importantly - toys. There’s even a whole floor dedicated to toys that are affordable for everyone. You might even score a budget drone!

FAO SCHWARZ, NYC

Not only is Fao Schwarz the largest toy store in NYC, it’s also the oldest. They’re renowned for spectacular, classical, and often expensive toys. It shut down a couple of years ago due to rental expenses, but they’re back and better than ever. At Fao Schwarz, you can experience the toy making process in store. There’s also the oppurtunity to create yourself in doll form at the Madame Alexander Doll Factory, or design an authentic muppet at the Muppet Whatnot Workshop.

TOYMATE, SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA

After Toys R Us hit the haystack, TOYMATE took over their top locations. Their Sydney superstore has rapidly gained popularity due to its colourful interiors and 1000s of toys.

SI TU VEUX, PARIS

Tucked away in the passages of Galerie Vivienne, is Paris’ prettiest boutique toy store. Si Tu Veux is a boutique toy store full of gadgets, trick toys and other eccentric little gems. The store prides itself with hand made and quality toys including wooden trinkets, learning toys, crafts and birthday party games and supplies with a Parisian twist.

 

DISNEY STORE, NYC

It’s time to watch your fantasy world become reality. A flying Mickey and Mini welcome you to the wonderland of the New York Disney store. This kids paradise has everything Disney themed, from character toys, to clothes and collectables.

 

HOSPITAL DE BONECAS, LISBON

This family run toy store is not quite like the rest. They aren’t here to sell dolls, so much as they are to fix them. Bring your broken or damaged toys to Praça Figueira for a thorough assesment by the doll doctors. Careful precision sees your toys healed of their wounds - arms are reattached, eyes are replaced and cherished toys are returned to their owners.

 

HAMLEYS, BEIJING

Of course the success of the London paradise means the demand for Hamleys has gone global. Welcome to Hamleys Beijing. Inside the 10,700 square metre paradise, childhood classics such as Peppa Pig, Nerf, Disney and My Little Pony can be found. Of course the store is in Beijing, so we have to expect more than just toys. There’s a 240 square metre Lego exhibition, a VR experience, a Nerf shooting range and even a ball pit. Really, it’s five floors of kid-heaven.

 

AMERICAN GIRL, CHICAGO

Welcome to the largest and arguably the best American Girl store. Explore the home of your favourite doll characters: American Doll stocks Girl of the Year, Bitty Baby and other classic doll lines. Buy doll accessories, clothing, posters and books, and design your own matching doll and girl t-shirts. Head to the Doll Hair Salon to pamper your own doll or feature on the cover of a souvenir American Girl magazine issue.

TOYS “R” US, HONG KONG

TOYS “R” US Hong Kong is the ultimate destination for all kids; big and small. This colourful toy store stocks just about every action figure, building toy and doll you can think of. And if you’re lucky, you might fine your favourite character as a life-sized figurine.

 

LEGO STORE NYC

This two-storey wonderland is home to the largest LEGO brick wall in the world. It holds 116 bubble, each with a different lego piece inside. From rare coloured bricks to har-to-find collectables, this store has it all. You can play LEGO inspired videos games and design your very own master builder kit. There’s also 50 NYC lego scenes around the shop to check out.

 

STEIFF MUSEUM, GIENGEN, GERMANY

It’s easy to lose hours to this interactive toy shop and museum. It’s just about as weird and wacky as it gets. This weird and wacky knick-knack paradise includes a stuffed toy hunt and ‘petting zoo’, a workshop and a giant slide.

 

KIDS CAVERN, MACAU

This 35,000 square foot toy store is the largest theme store in Macau. It’s recognisable by its quirky Willy Wonka style interiors, and has a giant candy store inside. It’s also home to the Princess Beauty House and Toy’s Kingdom.

 

BARBIE STORE, BUENOS AIRES ARGENTINA

The world’s first official Barbie store finds its home in Argentina. The Palermo district toy store is home to the Pink Palace, Barbie Dream House and a Barbie Tea House - the perfect stop for an exhausted mum. The store has Barbie jewellery, outfits, CDS and of course - Barbie dolls. Just about every one there is. There’s also Barbie’s life sized bedroom, and the opportunity to get Barbie manicures, makeup demonstrations and hairstyles.

KIDDY LAND, BANGKOK

The famous Japanese toy chain sees its ultimate location reside in Bangkok, Thailand. THis super toy store is jsut about as good as it gets. It’s the place where dreams are made, and made in to. Kiddy Land is home to anything and everything: mascots, dolls, cuddle toys, stuffed fur animals, action figures, Disney, Hello Kitty, Doraemon, Godzilla and a whole lot more.

ENTERTAINER LONDON

Refurbishments of Entertainer London mean the famous toy store chain is back with bang. The new store include animated window screens, interactive floor projections and immersive reality mirrors. There’s also kid-friendly Launch Pad Tech Tables and counter steps at each till.

 

CHARLES RO SUPPLY COMPANY, MASSACHUSETTS

Welcome to America’s largest train store. Family run Charles Ro stocks just about everything train related. This 5,000 square foot train spectacular has all the hard to find train sets, locomotives, box cars and classics. They stock products by Lionel, American Flyer, Bridgeworks, USA Trains and Thomas the Tank Engine.

 

DETSKY MIR, RUSSIA

A literal translation to Children’s World, this Russian toy store is just about as big and bold as they come. The children’s goods retailer currently has over 300 stores, so it’s not a surprise that they are good at what they do. The Moscow Detsky Mir is the largest toy store in its city, and stocks everything from stuffed toys to baby food. It’s said to be comparable to London’s Hamleys and New York’s FAO Schwarz.

DISNEY STORE, LONDON

It’s time for another toy store rival. Oxford Streets Disney store is home to a giant Cinderella Pumpkin and it’s own movie screen with kids tables and colouring in. Welcomed by Mickey and Mini mouse - there’s a British twist to this store. Your favourite Disney characters are dressed in Buckingham Palace Guard uniforms, and there’s a map display of Disney in London. Pinpoint Peter Pan, Mary Poppings and the cast of Cars 2 at Big Ben, St. Pauls Cathedral and St. James Park. The London Disney Store also hosts free interactive events including  animation classes, storytelling, trivia quizzes and parades.

HAKUHINKAN

This multi level emporium is one of Tokyo’s biggest toy stores. It’s a classic, but with a Japanese twist. It feels more like your inside a bag of lollies than a shop, and it has everything from Hello Kitty’s and Transformers to Nerf Guns and Gundams. It’s also home to a giant toy car race track and the Licca-chan Club - headquarters of the Japanese Barbie equivalent.